My goals are to introduce and teach students about how physics affects the earth
surface system. I try to reach both science students and non-science students with my teaching
because everyone has the ability to learn and few people are unlikely to benefit from knowing
just a little more about how the world works. The important skills that I want my students
to gain include the ability to think critically and to recognize the fundamental questions
of any environmental or scientific problem. Once the individual pieces of a problem are
identified, solutions are much easier to find. I ask my students to identify and address
their preconceptions and biases as they develop questions and collect data to answer them.
At all levels, learners learn best when they are interested in the answer to a question, so I
try to find questions that interest the students and at the same time
are filled with teacheable material.
I am interested in the physical interactions between water bodies and the
substances around them (land and the atmosphere) and in the effects of physical processes
on planktonic organisms. I have been
studying turbulence dynamics near the ocean surface, trying to understand the role of wave
breaking on the mixing and circulation in the upper ocean. In addition to
affecting the currents, salinity, and temperature, turbulence can also have
effects on plankton. Mean currents and turbulence both can transport plankton and nutrients,
and turbulence can also affect the behavior of organisms. I have been working with biologists
on understanding these behavioral responses and the environments in which they occur. I
study these problems in part because understanding physical and biological processes is
vital to incorporating them properly
in the models that we use to predict ocean circulation and population dynamics. My hope is
that my work plays some role in improving our ability to interact with the ocean.